Friday, April 06, 2007

Blackboard User group meeting on Building Blocks

I attended a very interesting meeting on Blackboard Building Blocks organised by the Dutch Blackboard usergroup. It was held Thursday the 29th of March (yes I have some catching up to do:-).

What struck me most was the amount of initiative being put into the development of Building Blocks. If you see what various institutions are creating it is great. Some building blocks are large and very complex and require separate databases (there is even a 'Setter Getter': a building block which collects the settings you need when updating your building block.) One specific example is the Blackboard Management System which has been created by ROC Midden Nederland and Leiden University (also proudly presented at the Nice conference).

On the other hand this made me wonder why these extensive features are not included in the core code of Blackboard. I am pleased to see that Blackboard attended the meeting and I hope they will take the wishes of the Dutch e-learning market into account. This does pose questions as to who ownes the ideas and the code, would it not be fair to reward/gratify the developers that spent so much time developing the building block.
The Dutch situation:
We are at times decentralised, hence the BMS, have large courses (500 plus students) which we subdivide into groups (requires extensive group management and group grading) and we do a lot of Collaborative Learning in our courses. These are just a few differences which make the features available in Blackboard insufficient at times.

No comments: